Graham: Kasich 'not ready' for presidency

Ohio Gov. John Kasich is “not ready to be Commander in Chief” because of his stance on spending cuts for the U.S. military, GOP presidential rival Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamOvernight Health Care: Watchdog finds Tom Price improperly used funds on flights | Ex-Novartis CEO sent drug pricing proposal to Cohen | HHS staffers depart after controversial social media posts HHS staffers depart after controversial social media posts: report Senate takes symbolic shot at Trump tariffs MORE (R-S.C.) told New Hampshire voters Friday.

“John Kasich is a good friend of mine,” Graham said, according to Time , before adding, “He said he has no problem with sequestration.”

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Graham told voters that sequestration hurts U.S. national security.

“As the enemy increases in its ability, our approach is to disarm,” Graham said. “If the next president doesn’t understand that the cuts are killing us, in terms of defending ourselves, you’re not ready to be Commander in Chief. ... This is a cocktail for disaster.”

The spending ceilings, in effect through 2021, stem from a 2011 legislative deal that Congress passed and President Obama signed into law. The budget limits affect both Pentagon spending and non-defense domestic programs such as the departments of Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs.

Graham has long opposed sequestration and has expressed a desire to also ease the spending ceilings for domestic programs.

About a week ago, Kasich said on Hugh Hewitt’s radio program that sequestration “doesn’t matter to me.”

Kasich spokesman Chris Schrimpf, however, rejected Graham’s comments and clarified that Kasich supports lifting sequestration for the Pentagon — a position GOP presidential rival Jeb Bush also expressed support for this week.

“The Governor wants to lift the sequester for military and spend more if necessary, but he still wants to reform the Pentagon,” Schrimpf told Time. “So the sequester doesn’t matter to him in that he still wants to reform the Pentagon, but is against across-the-board cuts.”